John Fetterman, the favorite to win the US Democratic Senate contest from Pennsylvania, announced on Sunday that he is recovering from a stroke.
Fetterman is at Penn Medicine Lancaster General Hospital in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, according to a statement, which said he checked into the hospital for the first time on Friday.
Pennsylvania’s primary takes place on Tuesday and polls show Fetterman, Pennsylvania’s lieutenant governor, holding a significant lead over U.S. Representative Conor Lamb and state Representative Malcolm Kenyatta. Fetterman, who began canceling events on Friday, said Sunday he was continuing the race.
“I had a stroke caused by a clot from my heart being in A-fib rhythm for too long,” he said, adding, “I feel much better and the doctors tell me I don’t. have not suffered any cognitive damage. I am well on the way to a full recovery.
He continued, “Our campaign isn’t slowing down at all, and we’re still on track to win this primary on Tuesday and flip that Senate seat in November.”
His spokesman Joe Calvello told CNN the lieutenant governor was on his way to an event Friday at a college in Millersville, near Lancaster, when his wife, Gisele, urged him to get checked out at a hospital.
“I didn’t feel well, so I went to the hospital to get checked out,” Fetterman said in the statement. “I didn’t want to go – I didn’t think I had to – but Gisèle insisted and, as usual, she was right.”
Fetterman’s campaign had given no indication that the lieutenant governor was in the hospital and did not respond to questions about whether the illness was Covid-related.
Fetterman also canceled a handful of events on Saturday and Sunday.
Lamb, one of Fetterman’s opponents, responded to the news on Sunday, saying he and his wife, Hayley, “keep John and his family in our prayers and wish him a full and speedy recovery.”
Kenyatta also responded to the news.
“As I said in the first debate, John is an incredible family man. My prayers are with him and his family as he recovers from this stroke,” Kenyatta said in a statement to CNN. “I can’t wait to see him again soon on the electoral campaign!”
Fetterman, who was elected to his current position in 2018 after a failed U.S. Senate primary bid in 2016, is an advocate for legal cannabis and lower prison sentences. He campaigned for former US presidential candidate Bernie Sanders.
Lamb has argued for months that Fetterman’s record is too liberal for a state that voted for former President Donald Trump in 2016 before opting for President Joe Biden in 2020.
Fetterman first made a name for himself as mayor of Braddock, a town in western Pennsylvania scarred by the collapse of the steel industry.
This story has been updated with additional information.